"Putting down" one of my hens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by momonator, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. momonator

    momonator Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 16, 2010
    Which is the best way to "put down" a hen? She seems to be suffering, can barely move, won't drink or eat, and her breathing is very labored. It's so sad to see my pretty brown leghorn going downhill fast. Or should I let mother nature handle it? I've lost hens before, but to predators and all I see are feathers left behind.
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I'm sorry, this part of chicken raising is no fun.

    If you think she's in pain/suffering and will not recover, then the method I've found that is the quickest is a hatchet and a stump. (drive 2 nails in to hold the head) Make sure the hatchet is sharp.

    If you want to give her a chance to recover, you can crush 1/2 baby aspirin (or 1/4 adult aspirin) in 1 cup of water for pain.

    Again, I'm sorry. [​IMG]
  3. calicokat

    calicokat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    So sorry momonator [​IMG]

    just hugs, no advice, I call in the DH when this happens, and the DS to dig the hole - I'm a big baby [​IMG]
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:I wish I had men around to do this for me! [​IMG]

    I never had to kill one myself, but I had to pick my Carl up off the coop floor and bury him [​IMG] it was awful.

    I'm very sorry to the OP
  5. chooniecat

    chooniecat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    central ohio
    quoting happy chooks!"If you think she's in pain/suffering and will not recover, then the method I've found that is the quickest is a hatchet and a stump. (drive 2 nails in to hold the head) Make sure the hatchet is sharp."

    I SO feel your pain. Its painful to me every time but I have HAD to learn to process so it CAN be done.And just resign yourself that it is quick and they don't understand death so I wish you much strength in your effort.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  6. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    As a tip if you're going the "head removal" route... have a 5-gallon bucket (like from Lowe's or Home Depot in the paint section) on hand to let the blood drain. The first rooster I processed went into a rubbermaid tub like people use for brooders, and he had too much space to flap around and there was blood EVERYWHERE.

    If you aren't confident using the hatchet, I learned to process using a crowbar/tire iron - upside-down, back of the head on the ground, tire iron over the throat (don't smush the crop), step your full weight onto the tire iron on each side and pull up hard on the feet. Quick and painless (for the chicken anyway).

    Good luck... I'm sorry you have to deal with this. I know it's completely different taking a dear pet out of its misery than processing a few roosters for soup. [​IMG]

  7. catwalk

    catwalk Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2009
    I had to put down my dear Phyllis recently. My tool of choice is the garden pruners around the neck. It breaks the neck with minimal blood. If she's weak already, she won't have much neurological function after death, but be prepared for a bit of flailing around. She will be dead, but she will apprear as if she's in pain. Just put her down and don't watch that part.

    Sorry for your loss.
  8. tom e

    tom e Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2010
    Ventura County
    I would recommend cervical dislocation. It's easier for one who has to do it on their own, and you don't have to have a stump or "make" anything.

    1. Hold the chicken's feet in your right hand so that its breast, neck, and head are resting on the ground.

    2. Place a broomstick (rake or shovel- whatever) over the back of its neck.

    3. Now you step on both sides of the stick (pinning down its neck) and at the same time pull up firmly on his/her feet.

    The bird will likely flap around a bunch, but it is as dead as if the head had been cut off- in fact often the head does come off.

    Sorry if this sounds graphic, these things are hard to do but sometimes necessary- I feel its best to be really explicit. The clearer you are on the process, the less stress for you and less stress/pain for the bird.

    Good luck!
  9. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    My preferred method is taking very sharp tree limb loppers that i only use for that purpose, and place the chicken in a feed sack, then position the loppers and lop. Same as decapitation but they are already in a sack, you don't see it happen and it is easier to dispose of. But I'm a wuss that way....
  10. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens


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